By Joe Morey
The LCO Tribal Governing Board approved their Industrial Hemp Code on February 10, 2020, and submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The code will govern how the Tribe operates its hemp production program.
The Code establishes the Lac Courte Oreilles Agricultural Division to serve as a governmental instrumentality and arm of the Tribe for the regulation of Hemp on lands within the jurisdiction of the Tribe. It also establishes policy which allows persons to plant, cultivate, harvest, sample, test, process, transport, transfer, take possession of, sell, import, and export Hemp on lands within the jurisdiction of the Tribe to the greatest extent allowed under federal law and to comply with the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills.
Other provisions of the Code states how the Tribe treats the cultivation and processing of Hemp on lands within the jurisdiction of the Tribe as an agricultural commodity under the laws of the Tribe.
The Code also states the purpose of such Code under federal law, which states, in February 2014, Congress passed the Agricultural Act of 2014 (hereinafter "2014 Farm Bill"), which defined industrial Hemp as separate and distinct from marijuana, and also authorized state departments of agriculture and institutions of higher education to cultivate Hemp for agricultural or academic research, including research into the marketing of industrial Hemp. In adopting this ordinance, the Tribe will operate its Industrial Hemp Code under the authority of the 2014 Farm Bill until such time as this ordinance/plan is approved by the Secretary of Agriculture;
On December 20, 2018, the U.S. Congress enacted the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2019("2018 Farm Bill") that amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. § 1621 et seq.) by adding Subtitle G entitled "Hemp Production" thereby allowing for the controlled cultivation of Hemp in accordance with the Act, and a State or Tribal plan approved by the Secretary of Agriculture;
The 2018 Farm Bill also amended Section 102(16) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802(16)), by removing Hemp (as defined by section 297A of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946) from the list of federal controlled substances.
“Pursuant to this ordinance and any regulations developed in accordance with this ordinance, the Tribe authorizes the cultivation of Hemp within the Tribe's jurisdiction,” the Code declares.
The Code also establishes the Agricultural Division of the LCO Conservation Department as a governmental instrumentality and arm of the Tribe and states, “The Agricultural Division shall carry out the requirements of the 2014 Farm Bill and 2018 Farm Bill as adopted and implemented by the Tribe pursuant to the provisions of this ordinance. The Agricultural Division shall be governed by the Lac Courte Oreilles Conservation Department under the directive of the Tribal Governing Board which will fulfill any and all obligations of the Tribal Governing Board as set forth under this ordinance. In carrying out its purposes under this ordinance, the Agricultural Division of the Lac Courte Oreilles Conservation Department shall function as an arm-of-the-Tribe.”
And finally, the Code outlines the process for licensing of hemp operations within the jurisdiction of the Tribe as follows;
(1) Any person or Hemp Business, including a Tribally Owned Corporation, who wishes to cultivate or process Hemp at any location within the Tribe's jurisdiction, shall submit to the Director of the Agricultural Division a completed application for a Cultivation Licensing Agreement and/or Processor Licensing Agreement.
(2) No person or Hemp Business may hold more than five (5) licenses in any year.
(3) Tribal preference in licensing shall be given to Tribally Owned Corporation(s) and to Lac Courte Oreilles citizens (members).
(4) Applications must be submitted on an annual basis.
(5) A Licensed Cultivator or Licensed Processor may co-locate at the same location. However, each noncontiguous land area on which Hemp is cultivated or processed shall require a separate licensing agreement. Any addition to a Registered Land Area shall require consent of the Agricultural Division and modification of the Cultivation Licensing Agreement.
(6) No person may cultivate, dry, harvest or store Hemp at any location within the jurisdiction of the Tribe without a Cultivation Licensing Agreement with the exception of Hemp products that fall within the definition of a Publicly Marketable Hemp Product.
(7) No person may process, handle, convert Hemp into a marketable form, or store Hemp at any location within the jurisdiction of the Tribe without a Cultivation Licensing Agreement or Processor Licensing Agreement with the exception of Hemp products that fall within the definition of a Publicly Marketable Hemp Product and persons who already have a Cultivation Licensing Agreement.
The Code also states, “Any person convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance under state or Federal law shall be ineligible, during the ten year period following the date of the conviction to receive a license to cultivate or process Hemp, unless that person was convicted of a felony related to the cultivation of lawful Hemp under the 2014 Farm Bill and the conviction occurred before December 20, 2018.”
Tribal members may contact the Tribe’s Legal Department for more information on the Industrial Hemp Code.